Maryanne's Reviews > The Wicked and the Just

The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats
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May 14, 12

bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read from May 09 to 11, 2012

From the very first page, narrator Cecily jumps out at you in full voice and full color. Delightfully ignorant of her own flaws, she is a perfect example of the arrogant, privileged few...until reality hands her some painful lessons. The other narrator, Gwenhwyfar (or Gwinny), also leaps from the page, burning with resentment, seething with anger...until she, too, learns some things she never wanted to know.

Not only does Coats capture the complexities of 13th century politics in North Wales, she also forces you to consider the very current issues of the haves and the have-nots (or, if you will, the 1% and the 99%) while at the same time keeping a firm grasp on the very real issues of and between teenage girls. Coats manages this balancing act with aplomb; you never, ever feel preached to or instructed, but learn you will, because this historical is packed with detailed information (some of which even I, a lifelong medieval scholar, didn't know).

And I cannot say enough about these two main characters. Each is so finely drawn, so brilliantly individual, that it seems impossible that they are not taken from reality. And again, Coats handles them perfectly, because where they might have been annoying or abrasive in the hands of a less talented author, in her hands, they are funny and heartbreaking, alive and human.

This is a book to savor, to enjoy, to read and re-read. If you love historical fiction, even if you don't normally read YA, this is a must!
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